Some days I love, love social media, and today transcends them all. As per usual, I was surfing Pinterest, and Instagram when I stumbled upon pumpkin bread rolls.
One look and I was besotted. Instantly and completely. And I had to make them. Just look at the gorgeous charmers. Who wouldn’t want to bake them?
But before I dive into the recipe, let’s give credit where credit is due. The method to shape the pumpkin bread rolls is taken from the blog Rice & Flour. The dough is the same recipe as my cinnamon rolls, which was inspired by The Pioneer Woman. I simply veganized them and changed the flour.
How to make pumpkin bread rolls?
Full disclosure: I did try two sample rolls yesterday. I was prepared for a disaster, but they came out of the oven picture-perfect.
So fair warning: the process is slightly long. You have to proof the dough and then shape it. But believe you me, the action of rolling and tying the dough balls is therapeutic, and you’ll enjoy it thoroughly. But I get ahead of myself.
Begin with the wet ingredients
Heat almond milk with olive oil and raw sugar at a bare simmer. The temperature should only be so high that the sugar dissolves, which is well before the mixture comes to a boil. At this point, I took the mixture off the heat and added pumpkin puree.
Then add in yeast. Remember to stir it in only when the liquid mixture is lukewarm. Else the yeast will die. Let this rest for 10-15 minutes until the mixture is frothy and bubbly.
How to make pumpkin puree?
Peel and dice pumpkin. About 500 grams, if you want 250 grams of puree. Steam them in a saucepan with the lid tightly closed. In 20 minutes, the pumpkin pieces will be so soft that you can mash them with a fork or a blender.
I used a fork, so there were a few tiny lumps. Next time, I’ll try the blender for a creamier puree. For a more detailed note on how to make the pumpkin puree, see my vegan pumpkin donut recipe.
Make the bread roll dough
Sift the flour and mix it with some dried thyme and freshly chopped rosemary. I have rosemary (and other herbs) growing in pots all around my house; if you don’t, use any dried herb to bring in a touch of savory to the bread.
Finally, sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice. You can find the recipe for it on the pumpkin orange pancakes blog. Incorporate these dry ingredients into the wet to form the dough.
There is no kneading required or any other technique. You mix, put it in a bowl, let it proof till it doubles in size. Then add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and a tad more flour.
You’ll have a little sticky and somewhat tacky dough right now. And more flour can be added at this point if the flour seems too sticky. I advise refrigerating it for at least an hour to make it easier to handle.
I like to make the dough a day ahead. I combine the ingredients and then slide the dough bowl into the fridge for the night. The next morning the dough is proofed and chilled enough to handle well.
And it stays well in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. So, you can make a big batch in one go. When you are ready to use it, take it out, knead for a couple of minutes, and you’re good to go!
Shaping the pumpkin bread rolls
Take the chilled dough and divide it into equal parts. I did the smart thing this time. Instead of eyeballing it, I weighed each piece (approximately 45 to 50 grams) and then rolled them into perfect balls.
Now comes the fun and dangerously cute part – shaping the dough into pumpkins. Get your family involved or your little ones. They will enjoy it immensely.
There are two ways you can make pumpkins out of dough balls. The quicker one is to use a scissor to cut into the dough. The slower but definitely worthy of the beauty it creates is using a twine.
Since I was keen on the latter, I bought food safe twine online. The regular thread may likely burn, so please invest in a twine if you opt for the tying method.
- Place your twine flat on a well-floured surface.
- Put the dough ball at its center.
- Pick up the two ends and wrap it around the dough as you would do to a gift wrap.
- Keep wrapping the twine till the ball is divided into 8 parts.
- Tie off the thread ends.
- Repeat for the other dough balls.
Keep the twine a tad loose because the dough has to proof a second time. Plus, it would rise further during baking. You want to give enough space for the dough to expand.
For a clearer idea of how to tie the dough – look at this video. Please skip to 7.40 minutes.
Baking the pumpkin bread rolls
When all the dough balls are tied off and shaped, cover them with a damp kitchen towel. Let them proof for about 15 -20 minutes.
Then brush liberally with olive oil. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
Keep an eye out for that quintessential golden-hued crust. When it appears, take the rolls out and brush them with some more oil for a shiny glaze. You can use cream or melted butter too.
Let the rolls cool, then remove the twine. Add a piece of walnut in the center, and voila, the pumpkin dinner rolls are ready to be served.
Serving the pumpkin dinner rolls
I didn’t feel the need to stuff them with anything, but yes, you can fill them up with cheese to make a heartier meal.
The pumpkin dinner rolls are a visual delight, as you can tell from the photos. I felt I lassoed the moon when they came out of the oven. But their taste is no less. The pumpkin puree gives them a subtle sweetness and earthiness.
The herbs blend into a classic and mild flavor profile, making the rolls a great vehicle to make creamy pea soup disappear!
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Pumpkin Bread Rolls
- 3/4 cup Almond milk You can use any milk you prefer.
- 1/4 cup Raw sugar You can use regular white sugar.
- 1/4 cup Olive oil You can use any oil you prefer.
- 1/2 cup Pumpkin puree
- 1.5 tsp Dried active yeast
- 2 .5 cups Wholewheat flour
- 1 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp Dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp Fresh rosemary, chopped You can use dried rosemary too.
- 1/4 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Wholewheat flour
- 2-3 tbsp Olive oil, for brushing on top You can use melted butter, cream, or milk.
- 15 Walnut halves
- Heat milk, oil, and sugar in a small saucepan. Don't let it come to a boil. Take off the heat and cool. Stir in the pumpkin puree. The mixture should be lukewarm.
- Sprinkle over the yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is bubbly.
- Whisk in the 2.5 cups of flour, pumpkin pie spice, dried thyme, and chopped rosemary. Cover and place in a draft-free place for 1 hour or until the dough is doubled in size.
- Now add in the extra 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour and give a quick knead for 1-2 minutes.
- The dough is now ready for use immediately. You can refrigerate it for at least an hour or up to 2 days.
- I would recommend refrigerating for at least an hour as it firms up the dough, making it easier to work with.
- When you're ready to bake, line your baking tray with Silpat or parchment paper.
- Flour your work surface and knead the dough for 1-2 minutes.
- Divide the dough into equal-sized 15 pieces, about 45-50gms each.
- Shape the dough pieces into balls.
- Working with one dough piece at a time, place each ball seam side up and tie a cooking/ kitchen twine around it in a way that the ball is divided into 8 parts.
- Make sure not to tighten the twine too much as the dough ball will puff up more during the 2nd rise and in the oven.
- Place all the shaped pumpkin balls on the prepared tray and cover with a kitchen towel. Place the tray in a draft-free area for 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin balls get a bit puffy.
- Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C.
- When the pumpkin rolls are puffed up, brush with olive oil and bake at 200 C for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
- Brush the rolls with more olive oil as soon as you take them out of the oven.
- Cool completely before untying the twine. Insert a walnut half in the center to make it look like a stem,
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!